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What do ya know-- April is Financial Literacy Month

By Dian Vujovich

It’s here! That one month a year that focuses on how much we know about our finances and money. Ask me and one month isn’t enough. It takes a lifetime to accumulate knowledge about money, investing and our personal investing, spending and decision-making processes. But, a few weeks to focus on the subject are certainly better than no weeks.

To that end, T.RowePrice recently released the results of its third annual Parents, Kids and Money survey. It questioned parents about how they deal with the subject of money with their kids. Here are a few findings:

•Believe it or not, parents would rather talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol than they would money.

•Most parents feel they could do a better job of talking money issues than they currently do.

•86 percent of the moms and dads surveyed thought it ought to be them, rather than school educators, who should carry the teach-the-kids-about-money issues.

As for the grades they’d give themselves for doing so? Well, when it comes to teaching stuff about saving and spending, the average grade these adults gave themselves was a B-. But, more then one-third of the group thought their skills deserved a grade of C or lower. Oops.

• When it comes to who knows most about money in the family, the mom or the dad, the guys gave themselves the better grades. 28 percent of the males gave themselves a grade of A while only 17 percent of women thought their level of personal knowledge of money warranted an A grade.

That said, 61 percent of parents said that when the kids have money questions the go-to person in the family to ask is mom.

• And finally, the majority of parents know that teaching money info is important, but the big question is when to begin having the talks. What the survey revealed was that 77 percent thought conversations ought to begin before age 10 and 47 percent by the age of 8.

If you’re like most parents, the subject may not come easily. Then again, so what, you’re the adult. And from what I can see, nothing in parenting comes too easily.

As for teaching money lessons, there are any numbers of books and educational web sites to scour that offer great, free educational money teaching info. Visit them.

More importantly, every minute of every day that you’re with your children and money becomes a part of what’s happening— whether it’s going to the grocery story, putting gas in the car, out shopping, going to Wendy’s, the doctors, a movie, for pizza or whatever—-is a teachable money moment. Don’t let those natural teachable moments go unnoticed. Your kids’ financial futures depend upon what they see—and learn–from you.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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